A Galaxy Far Far Away Is Smiling At You In This Hubble Telescope Image
Well, okay, this galaxy cluster is made up of gaseous stars that have no mouths or emotions or sentience, so they are not smiling at you, specifically, because the universe is a cold unfeeling collection of objects floating around in nothingness. I mean, uh… look at how cute he is! Aww!
First noticed by Judy Schmidt of Geckzilla in an image from the Hubble Space Telescope, this “smile” is the result of something called strong gravitational lensing, which is when massive structures with powerful gravitational pulls warp spacetime, and light, around them like a kind of cosmic lens. In particular, this is an example of Einstein’s ring, a strong gravitational lensing effect that creates a noticeable arc appearance—named, of course, after Einstein’s theory of relativity that explains this phenomenon.
Also, this isn’t anything scientific, but I don’t know why I’m picturing the smiley face with P Diddy’s angry voice from that scene in Get Him To The Greek. I think it might be something about how smug the smiley looks because the arc is noticeably longer on one side, which makes it look like a smirk. What, galaxy cluster, you think you’re better than me? I know you don’t because space is a lonely mind-bogglingly enormous void of mostly lifelessness, but still!
(via Hubble Space Telescope on Facebook, image via NASA and the ESA)